Maalaea is located about six miles south of Wailuku in Central Maui on the southern side of the isthmus joining the east and west portions of the island. Ideally situated for visiting Maui's many great beaches and attractions, Maalaea is also home to a bustling harbor that is the departure point for ocean adventures including sailing and fishing excursions, whale watching, snorkeling trips to Molokini Crater and more.
Things To Do
For family fun visit the Maui Ocean Center at Maalaea Harbor with many interesting and educational marine life exhibits including jellyfish and moray eels. Their largest aquarium has a clear acrylic tunnel that surrounds you on all sides by sea creatures, and there is also a touch pool, Whale Discovery Center, Turtle Lagoon and Sting Ray Cove. From Maalaea Harbor you can embark on a sailing or snorkeling or scuba diving excursion. During the winter months go on a whale watching tour to get up close and personal with the 40-foot-long humpback whales that mate and give birth in these waters. A highlight of any vacation is a visit to Molokini about three miles offshore. This half-submerged volcanic crater is thriving with fascinating marine life. A beginners surfing break is found at Maalaea Buzz's Wharf at the harbor which is also used by the local outrigger canoe clubs. More experienced surfers paddle farther out to the famed Maalaea Pipeline wave, considered one of the world's fastest rideable waves. For more fun activities drive up to the resort areas of Kaanapali and Kapalua where you will find pristine beaches as well as activities from tennis and golf to stand up paddle boarding and parasailing. To see rare Hawaiian wetland birds and migratory species visit the Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge located between Maalaea and Kihei. An interpretive kiosk will help you learn about these endangered species feeding and nesting in the coastal salt marsh. Nearby is Kealia Beach which is also a nesting site for Hawaiian hawksbill sea turtles.
Maalaea Beach begins at the harbor and extends for three miles east to Sugar Beach. Winds often pick up in the afternoon making this a favorite spot for windsurfers and kitesurfers. Some of Hawaii's finest beaches can be found to the south in Wailea Resort and Makena as well as to the north in the resort areas of Kapalua and Kaanapali.
Maalaea offers a variety of restaurants including the local landmark Buzz's Wharf Restaurant at Maalaea Harbor. Buzz's features American cuisine with and Island flavor. Savor their popular signature dish Sweet Prawns Tahitian as you enjoy panoramic views of the harbor, Haleakala volcano and the scenic shoreline. During the winter months this is a great place to spot whales breaching as you dine! Picturesque views and delicious food are also found at the Seascape Maalaea Restaurant at the Maui Ocean Center. The "ocean-friendly"menu has eliminated all trans-fats, and follows strict guidelines for their seafood. For more dining choices you can drive to the nearby towns of Kihei, Wailuku or Lahaina. Just north of Lahaina are the resort areas of Kaanapali and Kapalua where you can sample fine cuisine at the resort restaurants.
The Maalaea Harbor Village Shopping Center has a variety of retailers with interesting shops to browse. Check out the Pacific Whale Foundation's Ocean Discover Store and also the Maui Ocean Center gift shop for some unique items. South of Maalaea you can find some fun shopping opportunities in Kihei town and also in the resort area of Wailea at upscale Shops at Wailea. You will also find a bustling shopping district to the north in Lahaina town.
A rental car is recommended when staying in Maalaea vacation rentals so you have easy access to all of the nearby beaches and attractions as well as day trips to Haleakala Volcano and Hana town. Maui's public bus system operates 7 days a week and provides service between most major communities including West, South and Central Maui including the Upcountry region.
Weather and Ocean Conditions
Maalaea on Maui's western shore is known for having nice weather all year around including a moderate amount of rain, plenty of sunshine and comfortable temperatures that are usually in the 70s and 80s. Winter temperatures may dip into the 60s and summer temperatures may rise into the 90s on the hottest of days though the tropical trade winds provide a comfortable cooling effect. Maalaea Beach is usually very calm in the morning hours with trade winds picking up in the afternoons. Like all Hawaii beaches, conditions can change and you should always use caution before entering the ocean. Inexperienced swimmers are advised to always swim and enjoy ocean activities at lifeguarded beaches. Check with lifeguards before going in the water to learn about the safest areas to swim and enjoy the water activities you choose.
We offer Maalaea area accommodations to suit your specific needs. Maalaea vacation homes provide the optimal way to enjoy your Hawaii vacation with all the luxuries of resort living and the comforts of home. Browse through our Maalaea vacation rental listings to get an understanding of the different amenities and property features we offer. Our goal is to provide you with a with an unforgettable Maalaea accommodation for your dream Hawaii vacation. We take pride not just in having the largest selection of high-quality vacation rentals in Maalaea, but also in the fact that we stand behind our product and make sure only the best of the best Maalaea properties are listed on our site. If you have questions about our Maalaea rentals or which destination is best for your vacation needs, please give us a call and we will be happy to assist you.
Maui has a rich history spanning from the Hawaiian settlements of ancient times
through eras of missionaries, whaling, sugarcane and tourism development. Lahaina
to the north of Maalaea was a major port for visiting whalers in the 1800s and
Old Lahaina Town still reflects that history. Learn more about Maui history on
the self-guided Lahaina Historic Trail which is marked with informative bronze
plaques detailing important events and places.
by Jeff Berzolla